A raise for teachers hides the truth about the extreme rise in administrative costs in DeKalb

Tonight at the DeKalb County School Board meeting, Mr. Thurmond, superintendent, announced a plan to give teachers up to a 4% raise in the FY16 budget, which is now being built.

Although that is good news – especially after the cuts teachers have endured over the past 7 years, including the decision to forgo making promised contributions to their retirement annuities in lieu of Social Security, it hides the truth regarding the enormous 200-400% increases in administrative salary costs over the last several years. We compiled some detailed research regarding those declines in teachers’ pay and compared them to the vast increases in administrative salaries during the same time period.

The line graph below tells the story. As you can see, regardless of the ‘good news’ that teachers will finally receive a long overdue raise, there is still plenty of room to make cuts to administration, and move that spending back into the classroom where it belongs.


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19 Responses to A raise for teachers hides the truth about the extreme rise in administrative costs in DeKalb

  1. FormerDekalbTeacher says:

    Although I left the DCSD after more than 2 decades I still have many friends still slaving away over there. Good to see there may be a teeny-tiny glimmer of financial hope in the foreseeable future ….time will tell, though.

    For those looking for greener pastures, Fulton County is offering signing bonuses up to $2500 for teachers coming from other counties. My salary jumped by more than $500 a month this year! Something to think about.

  2. Weary Worker says:

    I’ll believe it when I see the money. Plus this was announced on April Fools Day. The press release indicated that there was still a few things that had to be approved before this happened. My feeling is that the response to contracts was terrible and far more people than expected jumped ship and were not signing on for another year. This was announced one day before the contract offers due.

  3. dsw2contributor says:

    “Veteran” teachers rated as “Needs Improvement” in all categories of their evaluations will get a 4% raise, while the Assistant Principals and Principals having to put up with those crappy teachers get a 2% COLA.

    Dekalb parents should be very angry about this stupidity.

  4. Teachers Matter says:

    I’m sure I’m supposed to be grateful; please forgive me if I’m not. Considering the money that has been wasted and spent on their wants and not our needs, this should have happened many years ago. It’s only happening now because they’ve been shamed into it by other counties.

  5. FormerDekalbTeacher says:

    Those administrators have not taken near the pay cuts all 7 of those years when teachers were barely making ends meet! They were coasting along on the very lucrative administrative gravy train for years! My own former principal admitted that to me! Many of them hang out in the main office, gossip with secretaries, stroll the halls and do so while having a small fraction of the actual teaching experience of many of their subordinates. Some are good, but many have opted for administration because teaching is just too hard and demanding for them. Be an administrator and your salary jumps while your free time …not to mention the ability to go to the bathroom when you need to…
    multiplies exponentially.

    As for veteran teachers with “needs improvement” ratings… Administrators have admitted that they have been mandated to water down evals this year. It is well known that teachers that are doing extremely good jobs and are working 10 and 20 hours overtime every single week GRATIA are getting “needs improvement” ratings not because they are in fact in need of improvement but because that is what the administrators have been mandated to report. One administrator comes in and gives a teacher an “exemplary” evaluation and the very same teacher gets an NI from a different administrator. It’s all a sham! There’s nothing scientific, objective or even consistent about these evaluations. Just this year I had an administrator observe me and then later that same evening… At 6 p.m. while I’m still at my desk… he stopped by to tell me how “blown away” -direct quote- he was by my lesson using Whole Brain teaching. (Don’t know what that is honey? Look it up!) Wanted to know where I learned it and if I could read deliver that strategy to the staff. A week later I get my evaluation… Yep, I got a 2…meaning “satisfactory !” It’s like working in a communist society where no matter how hard you work you’re still just adequate. Why the hell would anybody work hard to do a great job when no matter what you do you still “need to improve” ?
    Maybe you should learn about what you’re speaking about before you decide to opine. Yours is a flawless example of the simple-mindedness of those who have a surplus of opinion and a deficit of actual knowledge.
    Got to go work on tomorrow’s lp now…and, oh look…it’s almost 8pm! You’re the reason colleges aren’t getting students interested in the teaching profession anymore. You can look that up to!

    Think you can do better than these pitiful teachers you look down upon? Let me know when and where and I’ll be more than happy to show up at your house around about 8 a.m. with a belt 30 13 year olds and watch you work your magic! I’ll bring the popcorn.

  6. dsw2contributor says:

    With all due respect, FormerDekalbTeacher, I think you are full of crap.

    Performance ratings are defined by the TKES, Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (https://www.gadoe.org/School-Improvement/Teacher-and-Leader-Effectiveness/Pages/Teacher-Keys-Effectiveness-System.aspx)

    You really need to read the TKES handbook and learn how TKES defines Performance Standards. Pay particular attention to how those Performance Standards have four levels: I (inadequately), II (inconsistently), III (consistently) and IV (continually).

    TKES expects teachers to be at level III (consistently). Level I and II are the “needs improvement” territory; level III is where you earn a “satisfactory” rating.

    The level IV (continually) ratings are very difficult to earn. For example, to be at Level IV on “Performance Standard 1: Professional Knowledge”, the handbook says that “(Teachers rated as Level IV continually seek ways to serve as role models or teacher leaders.)”

    Sorry, but having a Principal stumble upon your lesson and then asking you to share it does not qualify as “continually seek ways to serve as role models or teacher leaders”. According to your own description, you were not entitled to an “Outstanding” rating.

  7. Link to the 2014 TKES Handbook:

    Click to access TKES%20Handbook%20-%20FINAL%2010-15-14.pdf

    See page 13 for how the Annual Evaluation (“Teacher Effectiveness Method”) is determined.

    Reading through the manual and will see just how absurd FormerDekalbTeacher’s claim (“There’s nothing scientific, objective or even consistent about these evaluations”) is.

  8. FormerDeKalbTeacher says:

    Oh…DO tell, oh wise one! Tell me more about TKES! I’ve only been living this nonsense for the past 2 years! Admins routinely give “NI” evals when coming upon a SINGLE incidence of whatever it is they deem to be sub-par, however it takes an endless number of nothing short of stellar lessons to qualify for an “exemplary” eval. If you were a teacher you would know the truth from the theory/fiction. Quit while you’re behind. You just trying to save face now and it’s not working.

  9. FormerDeKalbTeacher says:

    Oh yeah…and as for qualifying as a “teacher-leader,” which is another bogus requirement meant to get teachers to jump through hoops flambe’ for the honor of another year making diddly-squat… I, and many other teachers, have received awards and commendations such as TOTY, sponsor clubs that are NOT compensated for after and before school, and are even published and STILL…we gets 3s… if we’re lucky. Try that kind of strategy on a cracker jack sales staff and see how long they hang around!

    “Yes, you ARE our best salesperson and you HAVE met and/or exceeded every goal we’ve ever set for you BUT…are you published? Have you held any in-services lately in which you taught your peers, (aka competition) the tricks of your trade?
    Sorry, you’re merely satisfactory!
    So, no bonus for you!
    Wait…Where are you going????”

    A former colleague of mine left the DCSD a year before I did and when she handed in her letter of resignation she was told that she would be greatly missed and that she was a wonderful teacher…she was then asked why she was leaving. She replied…” I’m leaving because I can no longer work for an employer who neither recognizes nor appreciates my hard work and accomplishments. I not only met all of the stated goals you set for me in August but exceeded them. I moved every single Level 1 student to Level 2 and more than 50% of them to Level 3.”
    The principal said, “What makes you think that’s not recognized or appreciated?”
    She replied simply … the average (2) rating on my TKES evaluation. If you think I’m average…you haven’t SEEN average.” Good luck replacing me with a youngin’ that will come on board with no skills and will…according to statistics, leave teaching in under 5 years.” She makes about $6K more now and…whaddya know…actually received a couple of 4s this year

  10. FormerDeKalbTeacher says:

    Some HW for you, dsw2contributor. You need it.

  11. teachermom says:

    I would agree that tks is flawed, particularly on the observation piece. In our school we have two different admins giving the same teacher different scores. The observations are based on a rubric but are, in the end, completely subjective. You see what you want to see. We have many well respected teachers getting NDs in our school. I cannot figure the logic as these teachers are now leaving. If the plan has been to get them to leave all along then why are they now offering raises? It is contradictory in strategy.

  12. Anyone who taught back in the 60s, 70s and 80s can recall observations being done. They were done by your principal – who was supposed to mentor and support – and dismiss if necessary. The principal didn’t necessarily have a rubric or a state form to fill out – and the observations weren’t tied to pay – they were intended for providing good feedback. Good principals should be good teacher-leaders. Good area superintendents should be good principal-leaders. And a good superintendent should be a good leader – and cheerleader – for all. Like we always say, teaching children is not rocket science – it is just steady, supported, caring teaching and mentoring.

    As far as the post you shared, formerdekalbteacher, we couldn’t agree with this statement more >>

    But teachers (like firefighters and policemen) understand their job depends upon on collaboration, not competition. Suppose I design a brilliant history lesson that involves writing. It might help Mr. Jones, the English teacher who shares my students. Well, that’s helpful to Mr. Jones and great for his students. Suppose I share that lesson with Mrs. Smith, also a history teacher. It will help her and be great for her students. We understand, intuitively, that is how teachers ought to behave.

  13. Pingback: The DCSD budget is still nothing but a shell game | dekalb school watch two

  14. Just wondering says:

    It takes many people doing many different jobs to make any organization run well. What percentage would para educators, bus drivers, cafeteria staff and custodians be given? These people are essential. We have to be very careful. In every job area, you have some people that do not do a good job. But the opposite is also true. You have excellent people in every job.

  15. Momofstudent says:

    All we are is glorified babysitters! Teachers are being treated like crap. The principals getting reassigned to other schools is a joke. We love what we do but you come work for someone who is already biased and doesn’t want to be at that school. It is a recipe for disaster, for everyone.

  16. This and That says:

    We are all doing the same things that we always did as teachers. The biggest difference is the 6 observations throughout the school year! It is very time consuming to input all of the documentation into the 10 areas. After doing this for 3 years I now have a rhythm to it. But those observations!?! I really do not know how the administrators to that!

  17. This and That says:

    “The proposed increases include:
    •4 percent cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for all veteran teachers with 6 or more years of experience
    •3 percent COLA increase to teachers with 0-5 years of experience; and,
    •2 percent COLA increase for all other employees.”
    This is copy/pasted from the DCSD website. I teach in special education. We have several wonderful paraprofessionals (para educators) at our school. They deal with a lot of difficult situations like we do. Does this actually mean that Teachers will get 3-4% COLA and the para’s would get 2%??? Not a very ideal working environment. In past years when the governor would give teacher’s an increase DeKalb would spread it across the board.

  18. kirklunde says:

    One of the best teachers I have ever met was my son’s 4th grade teacher here in DeKalb. She provided differentiation for every single assignment and assessment. The students had fun in her class and learned a lot. The principal utilized her to as a mentor to other teachers.

    The same principal who thought so highly of her, rated her with 1s and 2s.

    Yes. Teacher evaluations continue to be subjective.


    UPDATE April 1, 2015: Below is a copy of an Opinion issued March 30, 2015 by the Court of Appeals. In that Opinion, the Court of Appeals ruled that “the plaintiffs will have an opportunity to revisit” and address any supposed concerns regarding certification of this case as a class action. In the words of the Court of Appeals’ Opinion, “it thus remains to be seen whether this case will move forward as a class action.” Elaine Gold and Amy Shaye, long-time teachers who stepped forward as class representatives, remain intent upon seeking justice not just for themselves, but on behalf of all the teachers and employees who were shortchanged by the DeKalb County School District regarding funding of the TSA annuity retirement benefit. As the Court of Appeals recognized, “[i]f ever there was a question that ought to be resolved once and for all, it is whether this school district shortchanged these teachers unlawfully.”

    Opinion of March 30, 2015 issued by the Court of Appeals.

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